Monday, December 11, 2017

Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival returns to its roots

July 13, 2015 by Pascale Archibald, contributing writer

When it came time for those involved in the Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival (GVSF) to plan how they were going to celebrate their 25th anniversary, they decided to celebrate the present by looking to the past. So they decided that two of the first productions they ever performed will be performed again.

GVSF artistic director Karen Lee Pickett says she is very excited about the productions this year and has brought in some talented people to make both performances fantastic.

“We’ve got two amazing productions planned for this summer,” says Pickett. “Romeo & Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream; it’s going to be just a feast for the eyes and the ears.”

Romeo & Juliet is directed by Christopher Weddell, who was a founding member of Vancouver Shakespeare festival Bard on the Beach.

Sarah Jane Pelzer as Juliet and Kiaran McMillan as Romeo in, you gussed it, Romeo & Juliet (photo by David Bukach).

Sarah Jane Pelzer as Juliet and Kiaran McMillan as Romeo in, you gussed it, Romeo & Juliet (photo by David Bukach).

“We are really excited to be working with Christopher Weddell,” says Pickett. “He’s really a very important figure in the Shakespeare world, as he teaches and directs Shakespeare all over the world.”

Pickett’s enthusiasm for theatre is apparent, which isn’t surprising, given that she has spent her entire adult life immersed in the theatrical world. Early in her career she received classical training as an actor and participated in many Shakespeare productions. It was only when she moved to Canada that she started to focus on directing, playwriting, and producing.

“For me, working with the Shakespeare Festival is a dream job,” says Pickett. “It combines a lot of my artistic creative side with my experience in administration and production.”

When it comes to dream jobs, Susan Mullen, an actress for the festival, has found hers here.

Mullen retired a couple of years ago; since then she has been doing shows non-stop. She started acting in the ’80s and says that it means a lot to her.

“It’s always been my passion and I enjoy the overall challenge of it all,” says Mullen. “Especially with Shakespeare, the easy part is learning the lines; it’s making them your own that’s the hard part.”

Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival
Until August 8
$19 student rate per show, Camosun College Lansdowne campus lawn
vicshakespeare.com

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